The Reach of a Word

In Lifestyle by Kelsey Nimmo, MA, LPC, LLMFT

Five years ago, I decided to start a blog. I spent weeks researching and then I dove in. I started a Twitter, a new email account, a WordPress page. I wrote four entries, I surfed for hours through other blogs, and I interacted with fellow bloggers. And then I gave up. The whole journey was forced. I was a poser in the blog world. I didn’t agree with the format, I found social media abrasive, and I struggled to understand how to actually connect my lonely page to other real-live people in the world.

Today, I try again. The little engine that could. I still find social media abrasive. I still am utterly confused on how to help actual readers with actual eyes set those eyes to this page and these words. I wouldn’t even be attempting this swim upstream if it weren’t for two things:

  1. My clients keep telling me to start a podcast. But here’s the thing – I am very far from podcast material. I like old fashioned books with pages that you can smell and bindings you can feel. I only recently moved to audiobooks and am still using the free Pandora instead of upgrading to the classy paid Spotify. My previous phone was held together with tape for two years before I upgraded to a hand-me-down from a relative. When I asked my partner how old this new-to-me phone was and he asked what kind it was, my answer was “Samsung.” This is how much I fail to embrace technology. (Also I learned it is 4 years old.) Essentially, I’m not about to start a podcast.
  2. I’ve always wanted to be a writer… and after hours of research, weeks of creating and reading through a “comparative titles” database, and confirming from Amy Poehler’s amazingly hilarious and honest book “Yes Please” that writing a book is terrible, I decided maybe a blog is the way to go. After all, even though I have a natural avoidance and instinctual grimace when it comes to most things screens,  I do have to admit a blog has its benefits.
    1. Far less prep. I don’t have to spend months researching, months trying to connect with an agent, and then months editing. Instead, I sit down on my tiny tablet with my 20 minutes here and my 20 minutes there and I write something. And BOOM. I hit “Publish…” and out it goes into the world.
    2. Far more fluid. I don’t have to craft and re-craft and craft again until I get the perfect completed project. No thank you. Blogging is fluid and allows room for error. It is a more forgiving platform. And as a mom and a full-time therapist, I need more room for error. Lots of room. A whole Amazon warehouse. I need to be able to make mistakes and address them in real time.
    3. I’m a guppy for interaction. As a born extrovert, a culturally-programmed woman, and a couples counselor, I love talking to people. I like interacting with people and although I wish I could fan through the pages of a book that holds these magical words and I could lean down and sniff the binding, I know that my readers would feel so far away. I want to know that you’re right on the other side of these keys. And I want to be able to interact with you if you choose to interact with me.

So. In the words of the great Esther Perel, “where should we begin?